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Ineavelle Ruiz, left, of the Daniel Torres Hispanic Center and Christine Gilfillan of Berks Women in Crisis on Wednesday announced that the groups are collaborating on a program to stem domestic violence in the Latino community.

Written by: Kate Wilcox
Originally Published: 10/28/2010 - Reading Eagle (Reading Pennsylvania)

The Daniel Torres Hispanic Center and Berks Women in Crisis announced Wednesday that they have launched a joint effort to step up the fight against domestic violence in the Latino community.

A $300,000 grant from the Office on Violence Against Women is funding the program, which officially started about six months ago. The goal is increasing awareness in the Latino community about domestic violence and increasing access to support services for Latinas who are victims of domestic violence.

Ineavelle Ruiz, the Hispanic Center's prevention educator, praised BWIC for doing an excellent job with a staff that already is 40 percent Latino.

But she added, "We need to be more connected and they realized a connection was necessary and valuable."

In addition to expanding the collaboration between the Hispanic Center and BWIC, there are several other components to the program: community outreach, training social service providers about sexual and domestic violence, a public awareness campaign and the new Men & Boys Outreach.

The training for social service providers will focus on the unique issues of Latinas, including immigration status, language barriers and culture.

"When a woman doesn't speak the language, she can't speak about the issues," Ruiz said. "She might think this is normal behavior because this is how women are treated in her family."

The public awareness campaign will be in the form of public service announcements, newspaper and radio advertisements, billboards and pamphlets, all in Spanish.

And today, a group of 14 people from the community will receive training for the Men & Boys Outreach.

"We need men as allies," Ruiz said. "To work with us to provide positive role models in the Latino community and the community in general."

Outreach to men, boys

What: A training session aimed at preventing abuse.
When and Where: Today at the Daniel Torres Hispanic Center, 501 Washington St.
How: By working with men and boys; providing role models.
Who: 14 community volunteers; Daniel Torres Hispanic Center; Berks Women in Crisis.
Training provided by: Alianza, the National Organization to End Domestic Violence in the Latino Community, in collaboration with the National Compadres Network, a Latino organization that works to increase positive support and influence to Latino males.
Source: Daniel Torres Hispanic Center

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